General Staff in Palace Square
The enormous white-and-yellow building half-encircling the Palace Square is usually called the General Staff (Glavny Shtab). Actually, there are two separate buildings connected by a triumphal arc opposite the main gateway of the Winter Palace. These two buildings with a total frontage of 580 meters were completed in 1829 and were meant to house the General Staff, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Finance Ministry.
The contrast between the lavishly ornate Winter Palace and the severe General Staff would seem to be too striking, and yet the two edifices are perceived as units of a single ensemble and lend the square grandeur and originality.
The façade of the General Staff is bow-shaped in the central part while the outlying walls stretch parallel to the façade of the Winter Palace. The intentional monotony of the walls with their endless rows of windows is only slightly relieved by four long balconies. In contrast, the Triumphal Arc in the center surpasses nearly all the buildings in the city in magnificence.